Bologna is home to a wonderful and diverse spectrum of museums, foundations, gardens and galleries, which host thought-provoking exhibitions exploring history, science, technology, and Bolognese culture.
Below is a map of Bologna’s museums. There are, however, numerous other noteworthy civic museums under the newly-organized Musei Civici (City Museums) of Bologna found here at www.museibologna.it.
Please consult websites for hours and ticket information, including advance ticket purchase.
© Image from OpenStreetMap modified by IWF Bologna
Museums and Foundations - Hotspots from A-Z
Piazza Galvani 1
The Anatomical Theatre and Sabat Mater Room
via dell’Archiginnasio 2
In the 17th century room designed for anatomical lessons covered in spruce wood and decorated with two orders of statues depicting twelve famous physicians, the lectern is flanked by two flayed statues called ‘spellati’ and above the canopy, a seated allegory of Anatomy. The Sabat Mater room is majestically decorated with various coats of arms of professors and students.
(Municipal Art Collection)
Piazza Maggiore 6
The collection contains works of art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century with particular attention to the relationship between art, architecture and politics. In addition there’s attention to the evolution of clothing, the history of the artistic workshops and tournaments in Bologna.
via Riva di Reno 57
The art collection was born from the gifts given to Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro and ranges from the late 15th to contemporary works both sacred and profane. The permanent collection includes works by Mimmo Paladino, Giovanni Boldini, Antonio Mancini, Giorgio Morandi, and Adolfo Wildt. They also host special projects and events.
via Paolo Nanni Costa 14
Exhibitions and events explore the intersection of science, technology and art. A one-of-a-kind structure equipped with seminar rooms, laboratories, and a collection of contemporary works of art.
via Emilia 275
San Lazzaro di Savena
The Foundation’s collection promotes, at a national and international level, the knowledge of 20th century Italian art and visual culture, from the early years of the country’s engagement with modernity to the postwar economic boom.
via Speranza 42
MAST is an international cultural and philanthropic institution that focuses on art, technology and innovation hosting conferences, training programs, screenings for the development of creativity. It looks like a starship that landed in the middle of the old Santa Viola area. The building architecture alone is worth the trip.
The gallery shows part of the foundation’s collection of industrial photography, introduced by an interactive exhibition of technology and mechanics related to the world of industry.
Genus Bononiae. Museums in the City is a cultural, artistic and museum itinerary, created by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna. It’ a collective that manages six historic buildings in the city center focusing on showcasing collections and managing cultural exhibitions including Palazzo Fava, Museum of the History of Bologna at Pepoli Palace, The Art and History Library at San Giorgio in Poggiale, San Colombano which houses the Tagliavini Collection and Santa Maria della Vita and the Lamentation Over the Dead Christ by Niccolò dell’Arca.
Their exhibitions and events can be found here www.genusbononiae.it
Virtual 3D tour of Bologna at different stages of its history.
Museo Arte Moderna Bologna
(Museum of Modern Art)
via Don Minzoni 14
This is the most prominent museum of modern art for Emilia-Romagna. The museum complex is located inside the distretto delle arti (art district), also home to Cineteca and the DAMS music laboratory, not far from Via Azzo Gardino. Under the MAMbo umbrella is also the Villa delle Rose, a beautiful auxiliary exhibition space, the Museo per la Memora di Ustica (with the evocative installation by the French artist Christian Boltanski),the Museo Morandi (contained within MAMbo) and the Casa Morandi – the city home and studio of the late artist.
Specola Museum of Astronomy
via Zamboni 33
Website Museo della Specola
The Specola Tower was built to observe the movements of the planets and study astronomy. In this beautiful museum you will see a wealth of instruments that were once used by astronomers, such as wooden telescopes.
(Jewish Museum of Bologna)
via Valdonica 1/5
Contains a research center, library, bookshop, temporary exhibition spaces and permanent collection, which focuses on the theme of Jewish identity and runs through the historical events of the Jewish people for almost 4000 years. Two rooms are dedicated to the history of Jews in Bologna and Emilia Romagna, from the medieval to the contemporary era.
(International Museum and Library of Music)
Palazzo Sanguinetti 34
Open by appointment for groups and schools.
Nine exhibition rooms illustrate six centuries of the history of European music. There are over one hundred paintings of famous people from the music world, antique instruments, and a large selection of valuable historical documents.
(Museum of Communication and Multimedia)
via Col di Lana 7/n
Open by appointment for groups and schools.
The museum’s mission is to pass on the knowledge of the scientific and technological inventions of the 19th and 20thcenturies including phonography, cinema, television, mechanized musical instruments and Ducati’s patents.
via Irnerio 42
Website Botanical Garden and Herbarium
The Botanical Gardens and Herbariums is one of the oldest in Italy. It was founded in 1568 for study and teaching of medical botany, allowing students to observe and the study medicinal plants. Today it occupies an area of about 2 hectares with four greenhouses, two tropical and two of succulent plants. A small greenhouse houses a charming collection of carnivorous plants.
via Saragozza 28
Palazzo Albergati is a grand palazzo hosting Arthemisia traveling exhibitions and events. Past exhibits have included Monet and the Impressionists, Duchamp, Magritte, Dalí and Kahlo.
via San Felice 24
The Palazzo is a stunning setting for some of the best international art exhibitions, which so far included works of Vivien Meier, Lee Miller, Botero, and Alphonse Mucha.
(National Picture Gallery)
via delle Belle Arti 56
Website Pinacoteca Nazionale Bologna
The museum offers a wide collection of Emilian paintings from the 13th to the 18th century and other fundamental works by artists who were in some way related to the city including works by Giotto, Raffaello, Tiziano, Tintoretto, Carracci and Reni.
Teatro Aldrovandi Mazzacorati is a charming little theatre hidden in a magnificent villa at the foot of the hills right outside the city centre. This intimate, originally preserved gem of a theatre in the left wing of villa Aldrovandi Mazzacorati is the only example of a suburban private theatre found in the area of Bologna. The theatre is famous for its acoustics and offers drama and opera performances, concerts and lectures. www.teatrodel700bologna.it
The University of Bologna operates a number of interesting museums and collections from paleontology to wax anatomy. Not all are well known but they are definitely worth a visit. For a complete list visit the SMA website below.
Sistema Museale d’Ateneo (SMA)